KOMPAS.com – Four astronaut who just returned from the International Space Station (ISS), recounting their experience of returning to Earth and feeling the splash of sea water after more than 160 days in space, on Thursday (6/5/2021).
The SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule carrying four astronauts back to Earth crashed off the coast of Florida on Sunday (2/5/2021) morning local time. This was the first night sea landing NASA in the last 50 years or so.
The four astronauts consist of 3 NASA astronauts and one Japanese astronaut. Their group was named Crew-1.
Is Shannon Walker, Victor Glover, Mike Hopkins, and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) astronaut Soichi Noguchi. They landed in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Panama City, Florida.
“There are times when I just say to myself, let’s breathe. Inhale. Because I feel so heavy. I feel like a cartoon with a drooping face,” said NASA astronaut Victor Glover, one of the 4 Crew-1 astronauts.
It was Earth-ISS’s first regular round-trip mission in a spacecraft built by billionaire company Elon Musk.
“It’s very dynamic and very challenging,” said Glover.
Reported AFP, Friday (7/5/2021), Glover admitted that he had difficulty breathing when he entered the Earth’s atmosphere because the weight of the acceleration was concentrated in the chest.
“However, launching and returning to Earth is a unique experience,” he said.
NASA has contracted SpaceX to launch astronauts into space from US soil, something that has been impossible since 2011 with the end of the space shuttle program.
From then until now NASA has had to pay for a ride to the ISS aboard the Russian Soyuz, which landed on dry land.
“Landing in water is interesting because none of us really know what to expect. But I think, from my point of view, it feels a little gentler than landing on land,” said US astronaut Shannon Walker.
“You spend less time under a parachute in the Dragon than you do under the Soyuz,” he said.
Soon, the Crew Dragon capsule will be reserved for space tourists, civilians who are not professional astronauts.
Astronaut US Mike Hopkins believes that space travelers will be able to handle a difficult re-entry trip to Earth.
“Having civilians undergo some centrifugal machine training it won’t be entirely unique to them,” he said.
Japanese astronaut Soichi Noguchi said the landing was quite smooth.
“The impact is very, very minimal, and immediately after the splash. We feel the waves, we return to the planet filled with water.
“That’s a great feeling.”